Pinterest Unveils Visual Search Tools to Enable E-Commerce

In the next few months, Pinterest will unveil a way to use the smartphone as a visual search tool. The user goes to search, taps the visual search button, points the camera and Pinterest will “recognize” objects in the camera’s view. The user can then tap any recognized object to get a recommendation for similar ones, and resize the image box to refine the search. Pinterest has always placed a major focus on visual search, and the most recent update now connects that visual search with e-commerce.

TechCrunch notes that, “it’s difficult for an e-commerce company to tap into moments where a user is likely to make a lightning decision to make a purchase based on something they see in the real world,” an experience that Pinterest now addresses with its visual search update.


Because Pinterest “is able to tap into users at all moments in the purchasing process,” it could also potentially advertise against each of those moments, from becoming aware of a product or brand to searching for it, declaring interest and buying it.

No surprise then that Pinterest, a social network with 100 million users, is also introducing new commerce tools “that will follow users around the Web, giving them an option to search for products and buy them on any medium they choose.”

One of the most significant new tools is a shopping cart. Anything that can be purchased on Pinterest can be placed in the cart, which appears on any other platform where the user has an active account, enabling him to make the purchase on any of those platforms. Pinterest is also debuting the ability to purchase on its Internet version.

Also new is that brands will be able to create branded pages, so if a user expresses interest in a product, she can “jump over to the retailer’s page” and see the retailer’s additional offerings.